Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Weekend Retreat

Last Friday, four of us went on a weekend retreat just a few miles away. We were there once before a year ago. Sandy, Krista, Barb, and I have been friends for years and we were excited to find a weekend when we could all attend.

Krista's daughter, B, spent most of the weekend with us - she is 10 and has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It was diagnosed last month and she will have surgery to help her pain in the next few weeks. I taught her how to finger knit (she had no trouble learning - she's a natural!)

and she helped me design this quilt. 

This wasn't one of our most productive retreats but we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Here are a few of the projects that were worked on:



There was also some knitting.
 

I made a piece for the back of a flannel quilt,

and I put together this little jungle quilt - I think I had to sew 4 seams!

I used the rest of the layer cake that B and I used in the quilt covering her above to make this quilt.

And I worked on my sailboats. 
 

We are busy everyday this week. Today we made pies at church. 

I will hopefully get in the sewing room in the next few days. I have projects to finish!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A couple of knitting finishes and a Smooth...mess!

Last May, some friends gave me the fleece from 3 of their alpacas. I took it to the Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill to have it processed into yarn. I was so impressed when we visited the place in September of 2016 and spoke with the man there. Last spring, I took the fiber there and was told by the couple working to just fill out the paperwork and the owner, a lady, would get in touch and answer any questions. Well I never did get any questions answered but I did learn some things such as to find a different mill next time! I finally got my yarn after many attempts to call/email. It took 5 months and I now have 15 pounds of alpaca yarn with  a little wool mixed in. (It is supposed to be Icelandic wool but I can't get that verified nor can I find out the percentage of wool.) 

I have 6400 yards of yarn which is all natural/cream colored. It would have been nice to have some of the yarn dyed but that involves questions so it did not happen this year. My yarn is a very heavy worsted weight which will also be changed next time. I made this hat for the son of the couple who gave me the fleece. He's not yet 2.




I'm still trying to figure out the gauge for sweaters and will eventually make more items. I might even try my hand at dyeing yarn.


Speaking of sweaters, I finished one. I bought the Quince and Co Lark yarn in September at Yarn Harbor in Duluth, MN. I love it and it fit like it was made for me! The pattern is Dalis by Dianna Walla.


I finished the sweater on October 29 but I didn't block it. We've both been fighting our seasonal junk - allergies/cold/sinus infection... Just a year ago, we both had the same thing and ended up sick for a couple of months. This time, as soon as I started feeling bad, I was very proactive and headed for the doctor on October 30. On November 3, as I sat down to enjoy my breakfast - oatmeal and a raspberry/blueberry/mango/spinach smoothie, I tipped over the smoothie. It went on the carpet, and in my knitting basket - all over my new, finished sweater and an almost finished scarf. Ugh! I soaked the sweater and the scarf and I think I have the stains removed. The carpet is okay too. The sweater is still drying and I hope it still fits - it soaked for a long time and seemed to 'grow' quite a bit. Hopefully it'll be dry soon.       

In the meantime, I've finished my steroids and antibiotics and even better, I feel good. I'm still drinking smoothies for breakfast and my knitting basket has been moved!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Grandson's Quilt is Done and Delivered!

Grandson Mack has a new bedroom and a new bed so he wanted a new quilt. His bed is a double or full size. This quilt is 78" by 87". 

Mack said to make something and surprise him. I thought about guitars (he is an awesome guitarist) or hockey themed (he's a pretty awesome hockey player too) but then I decided I would do something more grown up. I think this quilt will be with him a long time. Note: I may be a biased grandparent when it comes to awesomeness!
As usual, I didn't spread this out well. It really does lay flat!
After buying the solid fabrics, I had to figure out the placement of colors and the width of the strips - I didn't have a pattern. I never thought about all of these decisions when I bought the fabric - what was I thinking???! This simple quilt took days to design - much longer than most quilts I make. 
I hope you all realize how hard it is for me to bend and spread out a quilt.
I'm really not that lazy!
I used Aurifil thread and Dream Cotton batting. I bought the fabric at the Quilt Peddler in Fennimore, Wisconsin. I quilted this with a walking foot and horizontal lines - it is a very modern quilt. Each of the strips is stitched with the matching color. The quilt has been laundered so it does have a crinkly look.

The backing fabric just jumped out at us the day Ray and I  were shopping for the plain fabrics - it is perfect match for all of the fabrics we had chosen and it had a tiny bit of pink but not near as much as it looks like in the picture. We teased Mack that I was making a quilt that was all pink. 
Colorful back
We gave the quilt to Mack yesterday and he likes it! I think it turned out pretty neat too.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Diamond Hugs and Yak Socks are done!

Diamond Hugs is finished! There were lots of little bumps in the road to get this one done mostly a sewing machine that didn't want to work. This quilt is a gift and I didn't want to stop so I just changed to another machine and kept going. And now it is done!
The quilt does lie flat if the person (me) spreading it out takes the time.
The squares are all scraps of fabrics that I decided to clean out last summer. This is the second of three flannel quilts using up most of my flannel scraps. You can see the first quilt in the group, Hugs Squared, here.

The quilt is 80" by 88" and the batting is Dream Cotton. I pieced and quilted this with Aurifil thread. I did the machine quilting with a walking foot and quilted the diamonds with double lines. The border is quilted in lines parallel to the sides.

The back is also flannel with matching leftover HST pieces from the front adding some interest off center.


I also finished Ray's Yak socks. They are actually yak and bamboo and feel very nice. The yarn is Lhasa Wilderness from Bijou Basin Ranch. Ray picked out the yarn when we were at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in September.


The weather has been cool and rainy - perfect for working  on a grandson's quilt and knitting my sweater. Hopefully I'll have another finish or two in the coming week.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Projects finished, in progress, and new...

It really isn't hard to stay busy when we are home.

First I have a crochet finish that happened in early September. I made the natural colored headband as a prototype and it fit my DIL so then I made the charcoal gray one she wanted. She found the free pattern on Ravelry - Knotted Headband.

A few days ago I finished this scarf that I knit from the blank I bought at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Fest in early September. The scarf is Merino wool and is made with a garter stitch. The pattern is Hitchhiker by Martina Behm.


The dehydrator has been running mostly for acorn squash. It is one of my favorite things to rehydrate. 

I pinned this quilt. It is a little larger than most quilts I make, so I had to rearrange some furniture to pin it. Now I am quilting it. My Bernina started skipping stitches - I've changed needles and cleaned it. I'm still not sure what's going on but I have some tearing out to do. 

I've started knitting this wool sweater for myself

and this pair of socks for Ray. The yarn is yak and bamboo.

Yesterday we took a little road trip to get fabric for a bed quilt for a grandson. He just got his own bedroom and a new bedroom set. He wants me to make a quilt and surprise him. I have an idea and now I have fabric. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Fun Day and A Long Ride

Wednesday, September 20

We had a bad storm last night and woke to cloudy skies this morning. We decided to spend some time shopping - I had 3 stores that I wanted to visit. I don't go shopping often so it is a treat when we travel.

First was Creations Quilt Shop. As soon as I saw the store, I remembered being here seven years ago. The owner told me that she had expanded into the building next door. She has a good selection of fabric and notions and great prices. I found some blues to enhance my stash. I left behind a fantastic collection of batiks - I must go back! 

Then we stopped at Hannah Johnson's. This was a new place for me and it was a neat place with a friendly owner. She had a nice selection of quilting fabric and some other fabrics also - knits, laminates, oil cloth. I bought some hockey fabric for a child's quilt.

Just down the street was Yarn Harbor. I found some Quince & Co. yarn for a sweater that I can't wait to start! The sweater will be wheat colored with light blue, dark blue, pumpkin, and apricot highlights. With the help of the owner, I changed the original colors a bit. She was very nice and very helpful.

By the time we finished lunch, the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day! We walked along the waterfront in Canal Park. There are 3 lighthouses but I'm not sure they are all working.



In addition to beautiful scenery today, there were statues,

water fun,

and pretty flowers.



On the way back to our rental, Ray noticed a tower so we went in search of it. We found the Enger Observation Tower in Enger Park just a short distance from our 'home'.
 

In the park, there was also an observation area overlooking Lake Superior. 

Ray and I were both looking out at the lake when Ray noticed the Aerial Lift Bridge was up.

We waited for a boat and a sailboat to pass through and then watched the bridge go down.

By sunset, there were no clouds so we decided instead of going to Canal Park for sunset pictures, we'd head back to Enger Park for pictures of lights.

The tower from different angles:


The Aerial Lift Bridge at sunset:

Tomorrow we'll head for home.

=====

Thursday, September 21

It was 48 degrees when we got up today and 59 degrees when we left at 8:30 AM. When we arrived home about 4:30, it was 84 degrees. Whew! At various times today, we were in bright sunshine, heavy clouds, and partly sunny weather. We thought we were going to be in rain but that never happened.

On the way south we stopped in Barron, WI. at Country Lane Market. Besides being a neat place with many gorgeous mums for sale, (Sadly, we had no room to transport any.) 


they host a big farmers' market on Thursdays. Although the farmer's market officially starts at 2PM, vendors often are there earlier. We arrive shortly after 10:30AM and picked up a few things in the store including some fresh raspberries. Some vendors were setting up but we decided not to wait - we had a long day ahead of us. These two older people don't enjoy too many hours in the car on any given day and we had many hours to go.

We are now home. All is good; unpacked, laundry started, few groceries bought. Now to get some rest - this weekend is our village's big festival.

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